Billionaire Ray Dalio, the founder of hedge fund behemoth Bridgewater Associates, has been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 42 years.
“Meditation, more than any other factor, has been the reason for what success I’ve had.”
Dalio spoke at a Transcendental Meditation Town Hall last night at the AXA Equitable Building in Midtown Manhattan along with other leaders and celebrities. Money from the event will go toward teaching at-risk youth and veterans meditation.
Dalio said he got into the Transcendental Meditation because of The Beatles.
“The Beatles were doing it and so it caught my attention and sounded good. I started it and it worked.”
It’s widely known on Wall Street that Dalio incorporates the practice of Transcendental Meditation into his investing. He says that the benefits of TM are centeredness, calmness and creativity.
Other people have been catching on because of Dalio. The moderator for the evening CNBC anchor/ New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin said that Dalio is the reason he started practicing TM.
“Ray runs the largest hedge fund in the world. Lives a pretty stressful life I would think with the markets,” Sorkin said, adding, “Most people I know on Wall Street are a bit neurotic.”
Most practitioners of TM do it for 20 minutes, twice a day.
“You don’t do it in truth 20 minutes a day, twice a day, everyday,” Sorkin said to Dalio.
“No, I do it probably two-thirds of the days, twice a day,” Dalio said, adding, “It’s like yoga. If you practice it, it become easier to get into.”
If he stress even during market hours (9 a.m.-4 p.m. EST) Dalio will meditate.
“If there’s stress, I’ll just break off and go into the meditation. It will just wash off of me.”
If Dalio is seeing anxiety and he can’t get himself out of it, he’ll use meditation to produce calmness which allows him to deal with it like “a ninja in a fight.”
“I would say that generally speaking, I feel like a ninja in a fight. In other words, when it comes at you, it seems like slow motion. OK, it is what it is. Because there’s a calmness. So when there’s a calmness, I can deal with it in a better way. Whereas, when there’s that anxiety, it all seems so fast and less I am in control.”
In addition to creating calmness, meditation sessions help with generating new ideas, Dalio explained.
“It’s like when you take a hot shower and you get that creative idea and you just grab it. That’s what it’s like. Meditation brings you that kind of thing,” he said.
He says you can’t muscle it or wrestle with it. You have to allow yourself to go “into the void.” It he says this gives you relaxation and creates access to these new ideas.
At Bridgewater Associates, Transcendental Meditation has become part of the culture with many of the fund’s employees practicing it now. For his staff, Dalio offers to pay half of the cost associated with learning Transcendental Meditation from an instructor.
He says meditation has been integral to the fund’s success. Because meditation helps produce calmness, the employees are able to have thoughtful disagreements without emotion.
“In our business, we want to have independent thinking. In order to beat the markets, you can’t be with the consensus, so you have to have independent thinking,” he said.
And you have to be a ninja.
Mario Batali can “comfortably meditate” on his Vespa. Batali, Ray Dalio, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Dr. Oz, and other famous practitioners make the case for Transcendental Meditation. posted on
“I feel like a ninja in a fight,” the man who runs the world’s most succesful hedge fund told Andrew Ross Sorkin, the CNBC host and New York Times financial columnist.
Ray Dalio, the secretive and eccentric billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, wasn’t talking about a deal or a trade, but instead “a calmness” and his ability to “operate in harmony with reality.”
Dalio spoke Tuesday night at an event in New York City hosted by the David Lynch Foundation, a group founded by the filmmaker that aims to bring Transcendental Meditation to poor children, veterans, and other underserved populations. Dalio and Sorkin are just two of the legion of famous practitioners of Transcendental Meditation, the meditation practice founded by the Indian religious figure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and first popularized by the Beatles in the 1960s.
Sorkin said he started meditating a year and a half ago following an interview he did with Dalio, while Dalio started 42 years ago. “The Beatles were doing it and it caught my attention, it sounded good. I started it and it worked,” he said.
The practice, which starts with paid classes with a certified trainer, involves two 20-minute sessions every day, where repeating a mantra (a Sanskrit word that you’re not allowed to disclose to anyone) allows one to (hopefully) access a state of restful alertness — what Dalio described as “the void” or what Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist who has written about Transcendental Meditation, called “coherence” between the electrical waves coming from different parts of the brain.
Dalio offers Transcendental Meditation training to his entire company. “They pay for half, I pay for half so I know they have some skin in the game,” Dalio said, adding that the practice has been catching on at Bridgewater. According to someone familiar with the company, Bridgewater only started offering the classes in the last few years and Dalio has only recently become a more public advocate for Transcendental Meditation.
Bridgewater has a famously secretive and intense culture based on what’s supposed to be entirely honest, open criticism between employees up and down the ranks — and Dalio credits Transcendental Meditation with allowing his 1,300-person firm to operate the way it it does. Dalio said that there’s usually an “ego barrier” that inhibits honestly discussing disagreement which meditation can help break down. “Because of that calm equanimity, we can have those conversations that’ve been integral to whatever success we’ve had.”
“When you go into a void, it not only gives you relaxation, it gives you access to that neocortex and that imagination. You come out of those things with insight,” Dalio said, explaining how Transcendental Meditation allows him to solve problems, even saying that he’ll “just break off” and go into meditation in the middle of the day when he confronts stress and anxiety.
Dalio was later joined onstage by the restauranteur and TV personality Mario Batali, another practitioner, who said he can “meditate pretty comfortably coming down 9th Avenue on a Vespa.”
Batali decsribed himself as “by nature skeptical” (the word was used by several of the panelists) and said that he was originally turned off by the “very drug-induced” connotations Transcendental Meditations had when the Beatles introduced it to the West. But now, he said, “I’m an addict! I’m here to talk about it! I don’t miss. If someone offered you freedom of something like free money or free music, you would download it!”
When Sorkin asked what Batali had been doing with those 40 minutes every day before he started Transcendental Meditation, Batali said, “I was probably tweeting.”
Sorkin, Dalio, and Batali are joined by Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen Degeneres, Russell Simmons, Russell Brand, Paul McCartney, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Oz, and, of course, David Lynch in the rich and famous who have adopted Transcendental Meditation.
Oz, who spoke before Dalio and Batali, credited the practice with real physiological effects, including “25% reductions, not insignificant reductions” in the incidence of heart attacks and strokes” and said, “Without question it seems to reduce blood pressure as much as medication.”
But Dalio offered perhaps the most compelling testimony for Transcendental Meditation’s positive effects. Dalio, who’s worth $13.8 billion according to Bloomberg, wore rubbery, inexpensive-looking shoes and sported a floppy, Neil Diamond-y haircut. He looked utterly at ease with himself.
“Reality works like a machine,” he said, slowly and deliberately. “You’re just calm and realize that’s what reality brings you. It brings you things you want and brings you things you don’t want. You just have to deal with that reality and that equanimity and acceptance of reality is much easier with meditation.”
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